How do you get people who are afraid to write to find their voice? Blogging is not always the right tool for everyone. It is OK not to blog. If you are afraid to write, then don’t blog. If you start writing blogs, set clear boundaries for what you want to accomplish.
Twitter is one of my favorite social media sites. Many companies use Twitter for business, including Dell. Dell has one of the largest turnaround stories for correcting its reputation through using social media. Several years ago, Jeff Jarvis created a Web site titled “Buzz Machine” (www.buzzmachine.com). Jeff Jarvis posted blogs regarding Dell Hell and it was widely covered in the media. Dell Hell taught Dell a very important lesson about listening to what people were saying about them online and finding new avenues to connect with their consumers and customers. Dell has a team of about forty people led by Richard Dell on Twitter (http://twitter.com/RichardAtDell). Dell is connecting Richard Dell with their consumers on Twitter. The company wants to know if consumers and their customers are talking about them and they respond by asking how they can help.
Twitter has its ups and downs, but there is a critical mass there with early adopters. Another example of a company using Twitter for customer service is Comcast (http://twitter.com/COMCASTCARES). Frank Eliason out of their Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, office heads up this Twitter social media site. Eliason discovered that by doing a search for the word “Comcast” (and occasionally “Comcrap”), he could find tweeters who just happened to mention service complaints and he could address these complaints quickly himself. While Twitter is not a replacement for phone and e-mail assistance, Eliason says it is an avenue through which people have gotten to know Comcast. He feels it is a little more personal with back-and-forth discussions in a less formal environment. It also provides immediacy to interactions.
Dell, Zappos, and Comcast are the three highest profile companies I found using Twitter as a customer service social media site. There are lots of newspaper companies, journalists, and other companies also using Twitter, but the three listed seem to be the most interactive that I have read so far. Zappos (http://www.zappos.com/ and http://twitter.zappos.com/) has about four hundred employees identified on Twitter who are building relationships with real people. There is something to be said about knowing and connecting with a person at a real company that can be very valuable.
Is social media for everyone? No, but it is important to have social media on your radar and help customers and clients get on a radar to be in the know about certain topics in your industry and most importantly, building online relationships. It is also important to learn search skills and go beyond Google and use specific search tools such as:
There is a whole suite of social media and each type has a different search engine. Do not think that Google is the only search engine. Try using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. This is a resource that teaches people how to make the Web more useful and cut back on the number of e-mails received.
Ethical Online Marketing – Things You Should Know
Another important organization to become familiar with is Word of Mouth Marketing (www.womma.org). This organization stresses using ethics when using online resources for marketing and when using social media. The essence of the WOMMA ethics code comes down to the honesty ROI, which is known as:
• Honesty of Relationship – You say who you’re speaking for
• Honesty of Opinion – You say what you believe
• Honesty of Identity – You never obscure your identity
When using social media, disclosure and honesty are very important. What value do you offer the online community? Do not let people promise you a million views for a video you want to post without showing you the return on investment, because your video may end up on a porn site or anywhere to meet the promised statement.
The first mistake most people make in social media is failing to commit to social media or to a community. People start blogging for about six weeks and then get bored. There should be an understanding that everyone is committed to being part of the online community that is selected. When I committed to blog consistently, it was an eye-opener for me. I realized the time that I invest is the pay off. When I first started piddling around with social media, it was more of a fad to see what it was about. For the first few months, I would go in weekly and slowly build a network. Then one weekend, I dedicated some time and started first with LinkedIn to see who was in my “connection.” I went to each connection to view his or her connections and the next thing I knew I was building my business network referral system.
I would send out LinkedIn e-mails to seek an answer for something I wanted to know and would get responses within minutes. Some of the connections that are on my LinkedIn page may also be contacts that I have e-mailed through Microsoft Outlook in the past, but I was finding the responses were much quicker through social media than general e-mail. I see Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and MySpace social media sites as extensions of some sort of blogging, but in shorter sound bites. Even though I do not personally use MySpace at this time, since I have focused on other social media avenues. That does not mean it may not be effective for you or your business.
It is important to remember that social media is not a cure-all. Do not think that just because you start a blog or get on Twitter for customer service that the problems of a company will be fixed like magic. Online conversations reveal a lot about a company’s DNA. In the old days, more social networking was used than any of this technology social media. Now things are digital and searchable and information is much easier to find.
About DJ Heckes, Author of Full BRAIN Marketing and Owner of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
DJ Heckes is CEO of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts and Full BRAIN Marketing . She focuses on educating and training companies to significantly improve their Small Business Marketing strategies. DJ Heckes also presents customized training programs for Business Marketing, Social Media, Leadership and Trade Show Marketing. Learn more at www.EXHIB-IT.com and www.fullBRAINMarketing.com. Be sure to follow us!
DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing